hypothalamus is like the commander-in-chief

Rarely do I think I complain and say “oh, woe, is me”, but this week, I am barely holding it together.

work: Thursday (bike shop), Friday (bike shop), Sunday (lead a short 20 mile bike ride for Breast Cancer awareness fundraiser)…

Friday: Anatomy exam on the central nervous system and the brain. The brain is intense and I now understand why some parents put helmets on kids everywhere they go. My favorite part of the brain is the hypothalamus, located below the thalamus and is the inferior portion of the diencephalon (the diencephalon is located in the central part of the brain). The hypothalamus is like the commander-in-chief of the body. It controls the autonomic nervous system (regulates heart rate and blood pressure, activity of the digestive tract, secretion from sweat glands), regulation of body temperature, regulation of hunger and thirst, sleep-wake cycles, controls the endocrine system by secreting hormones of the pituitary gland, controls emotional responses – pleasure, rage, fear, and controls motivational behavior, and formation of memory – receives inputs and sends them to the processing center.

My second favorite part of the brain is the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB), although it allows nutrients like oxygen and glucose to pass through to the brain, it also allows some toxins to pass through too, like alcohol and nicotine. I used to think nicotine mostly harmed your lungs, but it also harms your brain.

Saturday: GRE (3-4 hours).

Tuesday: Anatomy lab exam on the bones of the skull, all the muscles and their associated actions, tissue micrographs, and 13 selected muscles with their origin and insertion points.

Wednesday: Chemistry exam on acid/bases, chemical reactions, organic chemistry, hydration, dehydration and alcohols.
…review graduate school application and send before Nov. 1 deadline. The application is mostly complete, except the GRE score.

I likely won’t have enough energy to celebrate my birthday on Wednesday. They say the best dan-tat in San Francisco is at the Golden Gate Bakery, but my friend found a dan-tat the size of a 8 inch pie at Cafe Bakery and Restaurant on Noriega. It might not be the best dan-tat but I’m planning to find out by the end of the week as my version of a birthday cake. The egg custard/tart is a dessert from Portugal, but was introduced to Hong Kong via Macau when it was a colony of Portugal. It’s probably one of my favorite desserts, second to cheesecake, Italian ices and pumpkin pie (no particular order).

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